On comeback trail, Credo appears stuck in neutral

Ceļa zīmes

Hot on the heels of their excellent 2000 release Viss mainās…, Latvian rock institution Credo released their album Ceļa zīmes in 2001. With Credo on the comeback trail, Ceļa zīmes—though not a bad album—seems to find the band stuck in neutral, rather than moving forward.

The lineup on Ceļa zīmes is almost the same as on the 2000 album. Aivars Vīksna provides vocals, as well as Guntis Veits. Armands Alksnis is credited with guitar and keyboards. The change on this album is the presence of Gundars Lintiņš on drums.

The theme of the album seems to be "signals," whether by communication or by signs (hence the title of the album: Road Signs). A number of the songs are about communication of some kind.

My favorite song on the album is probably "Tāpat vien," an uptempo number about the most common of rock song topics: women! When meeting someone new, often a guy will be nervous, but if things are meant to happen, then, as the song goes, they will happen "just the same."

Guntars Račs is back to provide a number of the lyrics on the record, particularly for another favorite, "Tur aiz mākoņiem ir saule." This is a slower song, with perhaps overly simplistic lyrics, but it has a very pretty melody and perhaps the simple lyrics work best in this case. It is a song of hope, about looking beyond the clouds to the sun and the morning that lies there.

But besides those two songs, there was not that much on the album that got my attention. There are some more interesting lyrics from Račs, especially on the song "Es dzīvoju," including the line “Es jūtos kā mauka uz Marijas ielas" (I feel like a whore on Marijas Street). Perhaps Račs is lamenting how most every band in Latvia uses his lyrics!

"Īsziņa" is an ode to the mega-popular (at least in Europe) SMS message, called an "īsziņa" in Latvian. The singer is worried because he thinks he has lost a text message he received on his mobile phone. Fortunately, he is able to retrieve the message and to write back to his beloved to say that he will be there soon.

A poet whom a number of other Latvian artists (including Pērkons and Kaspars Dimiters) have put music to is Klāvs Elsbergs. On Ceļa zīmes, Credo put music to two of Elsbergs’s works: "Uz Meku" and "Spīdi spoži."

This is not a bad album at all, it just seems that there is nothing particularly memorable about it. After I’m done writing this review, I think it unlikely that I will listen to this album very often. Credo is obviously a very talented group, their long history a testament to their ability to write great songs. Their last album, Viss mainās…, was a great effort, but it seems that they are just coasting now, as if they realize that with their great degree of talent, putting together an album that is reasonably good is not too difficult. Instead of presenting a merely "average" album, one wishes they had put in a bit more effort to make a truly "great" album, which they are clearly capable of.


Ceļa zīmes


MICREC,  2001

Egils Kaljo is an American-born Latvian from the New York area . Kaljo began listening to Latvian music as soon as he was able to put a record on a record player, and still has old Bellacord 78 rpm records lying around somewhere.

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